As you know, getting older does not mean that you have to compromise an active lifestyle. We need to stay moving, and activities like bicycling will promote healthy circulation, joint mobility, and muscle stimulation.
It does not matter if you have exercised for years, are just getting back into it, or if doing low-impact workouts is something you are considering for the first time. Cycling can help you improve both mental and physical health so that those golden years are as enjoyable as possible. Taking up exercise (or continuing to work out) can be fun when using the right equipment.
We’ll take a look at what a stationary bike is, along with some of the advantages and disadvantages of using one might be. Then, we’ll provide a buying guide so that you know what features are most helpful. Then, we can take a look at seven of the best exercise bikes for seniors, one of which might be right for you!
What is an Exercise Bike?
Mechanically, exercise bikes are similar to a bicycle. They are stationary, however, connecting to a platform that provides stability as you work out.
The design provides you with a bicycling experience without having to leave your home. This is beneficial for seniors who lack balance or mobility. It also offers an option for those suffering from bad eyesight, hearing, or unsafe neighborhoods.
You will see an exercise bike called a stationary bike by some people. Like a bicycle, these devices use foot pedals that are attached to a spinning flywheel. That flywheel provides adjustable resistance when you start peddling.
Several models have eight resistance settings, but you can find top-tier designs with 25 adjustments or more. Higher settings will require more work on your behalf to move the pedals. Added features, including smooth-running magnetized flywheels or flywheel-powered fans, are available on some products.
Pros & Cons
- Safety: The safety factor begins by discussing your desire to use an exercise bike with your doctor. Once cleared for cycling, you will find that stationary bikes help reduce falls and provides you with stability that bicycles can not. That is important as you get older, as falls can hurt more and take longer to heal.
- Joint health: Running can generate hard impacts on knee joints. Even walking can put pressure on knees and hips that becomes uncomfortable. Using an exercise bike provides less strain on your joints while offering the benefits of an aerobic workout, something our aging body’s need.
- Circulatory and heart health: Burning calories on a ride can reduce cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke risks. You have the potential to lower your risk of suffering one of these problems by up to 35-percent with regular aerobic exercise, including riding on exercise bikes. It will help to keep your heart strong and promote increased blood flow.
- Easy to use: Riding on a stationary bike is convenient and straightforward, something that we feel is important to maintaining an exercise regime. Finding an exercise bike that fits your needs will allow you to challenge your fitness goals. You can avoid the heat or skin-damaging sunlight of summer and the cold, icy, or snowy conditions of winter that prevent the use of a bicycle.
- Some assembly required: As you might expect, exercise bikes arrive unassembled in the box. You will need to unpack it and put the pieces together (or pay roughly $100 to have assembled for you). We list this as a “con” because instructions can be confusing, and attaching pieces difficult for some seniors.
- Cost more: On average, a stationary bike will cost you more than a traditional bicycle. A no-frills bicycle can cost $200, while a similar exercise bike will double or triple that price point. Price is a consideration for seniors, especially if they are on a fixed income.
- Lack of mental stimulation: Riding a stationary bike in the safety of your home can become boring. Consistency is critical for health benefits, and a lack of interest can develop with the same exercise over time. Spending money on an exercise bike only to have it collect dust in a corner will give you the sense that you wasted money and time.
Best Exercise Bikes for the Elderly
These stationary bikes look a lot like traditional bicycles. It has foot pedals located directly under the seat, with a belt transferring the motion from the pedals to the flywheel.
Everything else on the upright exercise bike is immobile. That allows you to remain focused on your leg movement.
All your upper body weight and pressure rest on the bike seat, with leg and foot pressure placed on the pedals. The only trick you have to be concerned with here is keeping your body balanced on the bike’s seat.
Seniors who have lower back or hip pain may notice themselves becoming sore with extended use, so those with preexisting problems may want to ride shorter sessions. Others can usually ride upright exercise bikes for 30-minute sessions with no lingering effects.
Recumbent, is a word referring to the “lying down” position. A recumbent exercise bike places you in a position of laying back. The seat is wide, has padding, and includes a backrest.
Your legs are positioned more in the front of the bike when you pedal, while your upper body weight and pressure distribute over your lower back and buttocks. It is more comfortable and ergonomic when compared to a traditional bike seat.
If you suffer from lower hip or back pain, a recumbent exercise bike will allow you to get an aerobic workout without agitating sensitive muscles or nerves.
We have included this in an individual category, but it is not a separate type of stationary bike. A step-through exercise bike can be a recumbent or upright design. The designation describes the bike frame.
These use frames that sit low to the ground instead of higher up. That allows you to step between the seat and handlebars as you mount or exit the bike.
If you have trouble with your balance or lifting your leg, a step-through frame can help. You can use your exercise bike comfortably and safely.
An upright stands you up tall, a recumbent has you laying back, and an indoor cycle exercise bike will put you into a more forward position. You may have heard some people refer to an indoor cycle as a spin bike.
The key feature here is a handlebar placement that forces you to lean forward. Your arms can now relieve some of the upper body weight and pressure. These can be pedaled seated or standing on the foot pedals.
The indoor cycle, or spin bike, is very popular with those looking to burn calories. Most designs lack electronic monitoring or tracking, but you can add aftermarket computers easily.
The folding exercise bike is another sub-category found in either a recumbent or upright exercise bike design. A key feature for these stationary bikes is portability.
They are lightweight compared to standard designs, and you can often get one of these for less money. When you finish using a folding exercise bike, you can fold it up and store it out of the way.
If you have very limited open space in your home, you might consider a folding bike to get your aerobic exercise done. They are not as stable, though, so keep that in mind as you do your research.
Buying Guide: What Should You Look For?
1. On-board workout programs: The added feature helps design a program that keeps you challenged and motivated as you exercise. These come on models with video screens and without them. It is a feature that can help a beginner to exercising with a stationary bike and for those who struggle to stay motivated.
2. Adjustable resistance: These controls allow you to increase or decrease the resistance levels that the flywheel provides as you pedal. Higher numbers indicate greater levels and lower numbers less. Budget-friendly exercise bikes will have at least 8 to 10 settings, while more expensive designs can have more than 20 resistance levels.
3. Arm movement: You can pay extra and get arm movement added to your exercise bike experience. This feature provides a complete body workout that increases your cardiovascular workload. You can get a workout for arm joints and muscles at the same time you work your legs, and seniors may find it easier to use all of their limbs on the bike.
4. Seat design: Your exercise bike seat is the point of contact and support, so it needs to be ergonomic. Look for a bike with adequate padding and a shape that does not agitate your back, butt, or groin area when you ride. If the seat is very uncomfortable, you will not use the bike as much.
Additional features: Today’s technology is all about integration. If you want to use personal electronics and apps, there are exercise bikes that connect with them. That includes Bluetooth technology and built-in speakers.
1. Financing options: Many seniors are on fixed incomes, making an exercise bike seem out of reach financially. Before settling on a different model that might not meet your specific needs, see if financing is available. Manufacturers and retail outlets alike will often offer potential buyers financing, extended warranties, and free service on a new stationary bike.
2. Display screens and add-ons: A large video display is a nice feature, especially for older eyes. It is not a requirement, though, and such add-ons will drive up the total cost of your exercise bike quickly (some luxury items can double the price tag). If you want to save money on your equipment, downgrade to smaller features or eliminate them.
The Best of the Best
Best Overall: Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike
Schwinn 270 recumbent bike is designed to distribute light pressure along your back and rear as you pedal. It is a reasonable stationary bike choice if you are recovering from injuries or surgery that require rehabilitation. If you consider that the design is also suitable for seniors with bad hips, you can see why it is the best overall choice for anybody.
The seat is the stand-out feature of this product. It is well-cushioned and ergonomic, making it a design that we feel is difficult to top in this class of exercise equipment.
Another consideration is the 29 functions and programs that Schwinn has added to this model. It provides you with 25 resistance levels, allowing you to fine-tune your workout. The 270 recumbent exercise bike includes functions for profile creation, exercise routines, fitness tests, heart rate monitoring, and set starts/stops.
A design feature that makes this exercise bike a good choice for seniors is the flywheel. Its weight distributes along the outer edge, allowing users to start pedaling easier than wheels on other products. That will get you pedaling with less effort, making it more comfortable to exercise.
The Schwinn 270 includes a large LCD that is easy to read, even without sharp eyesight. Its controls are extremely intuitive and easy to use. That makes it less intimidating for anyone not comfortable with technology.
Bluetooth technology allows you to sync up with Schwinn’s training app for tech-savvy users. You can also find programs for seniors on apps like RideSocial or personal trainers with remote monitoring.
- It has an ergonomic seat that is comfortable to sit in
- There are 29 functions and programs to create your workout
- 25 levels of resistance to select
- The flywheel design provides an easy start to pedaling
- A large LCD that is easy to see
- The exercise bike is Bluetooth compatible
- Assembly can be difficult for seniors
Best for Heavier, Larger People: EXERPEUTIC 900XL 300 lbs. Weight Capacity
The 900XL is another recumbent stationary bike design that allows you to lay back as you pedal. It has a 300-pound maximum capacity, providing support for people wanting to start their exercise journey. If you need to improve your cardiovascular and overall health and burn calories, this product from Exerpeutic could be for you.
The magnetic tensioned wheel can is adjustable to eight settings. That might not be the best selection range, but the lowest two settings are easy to use and make a great place to start. Eight resistance settings are also adequate for seniors looking for a simple operating exercise bike.
It has a display that provides feedback in various readings and statistics. These are not overly complicated and should be easy for you to understand. The large LCD tracks your calories burned, distance, heart rate, speed, and time on the bike.
We note that the information appears to be accurate and in real-time, including at the lower settings. That is not the case on all exercise equipment we have reviewed. Add to this the comfortable seat position that relieves back and hip discomfort for large users, and you have a stationary bike that heavier users can use with confidence.
It has a budget-friendly price tag when compared to some exercise bikes. That does not mean the manufacturer skipped on quality. The bike is durable and offers a stable exercise platform.
- It comes at an affordable price
- The exercise bike is simple to start using
- Magnetic variable tension provides smooth resistance
- It has a comfortable seat for larger riders
- The 300-pound weight capacity is higher than other models
- The metrics it offers to track are basic
Best High-End Option: NordicTrack Commercial VR21
The VR21 recumbent exercise bike design is a step up in price. Your extra money provides you with a step-through bike design, though. That is a nice feature for seniors with balance issues or who lack the movement range to step over other bikes to mount them.
An oversized bike seat with built-in support for your lumbar area provides you with a comfortable body position as you work out. It has large foot pedals that are ergonomic and comfortable. NordicTrack has included comfort adjustments that seniors will find easy to adjust.
A wide range of digital features is available for your money, including an EKG pulse rate tracker that grips and 32 unique workouts pre-installed. The stationary bike is iFit compatible as well.
We find that the EasyGlide seat adjustments are perfect for older riders to use without causing a loss of balance or arm strain. The oversized foot pedals include adjustable straps that allow you to pedal without your feet slipping.
Another feature is the AutoBreeze fan that can keep air circulating near you during your riding. A holder for your water bottle and computer tablet makes things easy to connect and reach while you are on the exercise bike.
The flywheel is inertia-enhanced and rated at 20 pounds, allowing you to adjust to 25 digital settings for resistance that can match your desired exercise routine.
Top these features off with a 350-pound support rating and 10-year frame warranty, and you have a durable product that will help get you in shape.
- It has features that are easy for seniors to use
- You get a fun workout experience with things like speakers, a fan, and holders for your workout accessories.
- The five-inch backlight display uses OneTouch controls that are reliable and give instant access to things like the 32 workouts included in the exercise bike.
- It includes a heart rate tracker to help keep you exercising safely and at a targeted range.
- A solid warranty package provides peace of mind
- The design is ready for iFit
- The exercise bike is hefty and will require a lot of assembly work, so spending the extra money to have it professionally assembled is worth considering.
- NordicTrack has targeted beginning exercisers looking for a low impact, spine-supported workout and not dedicated workout buffs who need high-intensity challenges (we list this here to help you shop for equipment that meets your needs more than a negative feature)
Best Value for Money: Marcy ME-709
Marcy’s ME-709 is friendly on the wallet, meaning that seniors sticking to a tight budget might find this exercise bike to their liking. That does mean the design and operation are simple. Those who do not wish to be over-burdened with lots of technological features will appreciate that.
The flywheel uses magnetic resistance and is adjustable to eight different settings. A simple LCD provides data for calories burned, distance pedaled, current speed, and distance traveled. The price tag comes with some monitoring sacrifices, including the ability to track your heart rate.
It is a recumbent exercise bike design, so it has a seat that provides good support for your hips and lower back. The cushioning used is adequate, and you might appreciate the foam padding on the handles.
Weighted foot pedals should help you keep your balance as you ride, and the frame provides decent stability, even when you are working out at higher resistance settings.
Seniors will find the exercise bike easier to assemble than some models are, and the tools provided can help you get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.
- It has a high weight capacity that can handle heavy riders
- The seat is ergonomically sound and provides a comfortable ride
- A simple design makes this exercise bike easy to use
- There is no heart rate sensor to help track this data point for aerobic workouts
Best for a Complete Body Workout: Stamina Elite Total Body
The first thing that stands out about this product is the hand pedals instead of stationary handlebars. That will provide increased cardiovascular and muscle workout capabilities for the upper body. Seniors with flexibility and strength can take advantage of the feature.
The mobile pieces require an upright design instead of recumbent seating on this frame. To provide maximum comfort, the manufacturer has included a seat with a backrest that you can push considerably. That will give you as much lean as possible to relieve potential pressure at the hips.
Typical design features include the ability to monitor things like your heart rate and foot pedal speed. You should be able to read the data without eye strain.
It is a heavy exercise bike and will work best for seniors that are over five foot tall. The robust frame weighs over 100 pounds, so you might need help assembling and moving it. We would recommend this for exercisers that are still in solid shape.
- Riders can work their upper body with this bike
- The bike does not generate much noise as you ride it
- Its LCD can be read without eye strain
- You can monitor your heart rate with this stationary bike
- It provides plenty of stability as you exercise
- The price tag is significant for the features you get
Best for Seniors With Bad Knees: Sole Fitness R92 Recumbent Bicycle
The Sole Fitness R92 is a recumbent exercise bike design. Its seating provides your body with an angle that relieves pressure on your knee joints as you move. That is a likely the best upright exercise bike for seniors with bad knees who may find traditional upright options uncomfortable to use.
You can adjust to 20 distinct resistance settings on this model. It should allow you to find a match between body position and foot pedal resistance that will challenge you while still providing comfort to your leg joints.
A magnetic flywheel offers smooth resistance, preventing sudden drops or increases that may prove uncomfortable. A steady and consistent resistance level can help alleviate ankle, knee, and hip soreness after your workout.
We would suggest that any seniors who have knee issues look into the model R92 to provide their aerobic or therapeutic exercise needs.
Best Stationary Bike for Seniors: Stamina X Air Bike
Designed to accommodate both advanced users and beginners, the Stamina X Air Bike uses an upright design Moving handles provide you with both a lower and upper body workout at the same time.
If you are goal-oriented in your exercise routines, then the rugged design will work for you. Its display lets you keep track of calories, distance, speed, and time. Just set your mark and get to work.
You will work your core, back, shoulders, arms, and legs with this machine. Alter your exercises to focus on flexibility, strength, or cardiovascular. All forms are necessary for us to target as we age, so the ability to switch out adds versatility beyond simple leg movement.
Wheels and carrying handle help you move it to a proper storage area when you aren’t using it.
- Can Seniors Get Good Exercise Riding a Bike? Cycling, especially indoors, is a safe and easy way for many seniors to stay fit. It promotes joint mobility, improved circulation, and strength conditioning. Also consider the ease in which you can pick the bike up, which makes this a good choice for older people to start.
- Which Is Better Option for Seniors: An Upright or Recumbent Bike? An upright design is more traditional and is acceptable for anyone already in shape or working out without issues. Seniors who are overweight, have lower back issues, or joint issues might consider the recumbent design. Recumbents allow you to remain more relaxed for easy workouts while still providing a challenge when needed.
Stationary exercise bikes are convenient and safe, making them ideal for seniors to use.
Many consider the Schwinn 270 best suited for seniors due to its monitoring accuracy and the multitude of functions.
That said, your needs might be better matched with one of the other models we have reviewed above. We hope this review has been helpful in your research, and if you have any comments or questions, make sure to add them in the section below!